Best Open Mics in Newcastle

Charlotte Boulton, music editor, and Julia McGee-Russell, arts editor, give you the run down of the best open mics Newcastle has to offer

Charlotte Boulton
29th October 2018
pixabay, maxpixel

Bar Loco

Newcastle Literary Salon [last Wednesday of every month from 7pm]

This poetry-exclusive open mic night holds a special place in my heart. The first place I performed my own poetry in first year, it solidified Bar Loco as one of my favourite venues. If you’re looking for live music, their folk or jazz jam sessions are amazing, but this night is pure unadulterated poetry. Featured performers who give readings on a monthly theme are mixed with plenty of open mic space for everyone. Poems can be any topic and length - some regulars contribute a stack of poems each month. Located upstairs in Bar Loco, the set-up is welcoming and cosy, continuing the bohemian-esque vibes from downstairs. As someone who dabbles in spoken word poetry, it’s amazing to have dedicated nights for poetry and to be surrounded by people with the same passion for this unique medium. The audience is friendly and enthusiastic, with the typical poetry crowd habits of “mmm”s and finger clicks abundant. Audible appreciation of art is always something I enjoy and making a connection between the performer and the viewers is lovely.



Spotlight Open Mic Night [every Tuesday from 10pm]

Although a venue quite literally named filthy may seem suspect, this venue. Is surprisingly funky. A late-starter open mic night every Tuesday (performances don’t kick off until 10pm), if you’re already out for a few drinks, Filthy’s is a great stop. Performances are varied, although volume is usually one thing they have in common. If you’re into listening to live music whilst having a drink with friends, chatter amongst the audience almost encouraged here. Some open mic musicians love the challenge of earning the crowd’s attention at an open mic like this; if you can get people actively watching and nodding along, it’s a win. With everything from solo singer-songwriters showcasing their quirky originals, to the night’s organiser rallying the crowd with recognisable classics, there is something for everyone. Just don’t dare venture to the toilets, or you’ll discover what’s really filthy at Filthy’s. Get a jam jar cocktail or a craft beer instead, and enjoy the casual vibes and cracking live music.


Freshly Squeezed: Open Mic Night at Ernest [second Thursday of every month, 7.30 start]

Ernest’s open mic offering, ‘Freshly Squeezed’, popped onto the scene last year. I performed poetry at one of their first events last autumn and really enjoyed the vibe. Performers and audience alike are tightly packed into the back room of this Ouseburn venue; fairy lights and scattered beanbags creating a relaxed atmosphere. The audience here is the most focused I’ve ever seen at an open mic. There’s almost a feeling that the space is too intimate, particularly if you’re performing a personal song or poem. But the crowd is warm and your words are certainly being listened to. People are often eager to let you know what they thought, perfect for if those who crave feedback or a little validation after your performance. This is the place to be if you’re on the artsy side of aesthetic and are up for hearing plenty of experimental originals rather than crowd-pleasing covers. If you’re into unusual soundscapes crafted by loop pedals and electronic synthesisers, your art is as welcome here as an acoustic guitar player or a performance poet. An all-round great time to be had.

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